Fritters, as I have written before, frequently appear in historical cookbooks. Although this strictly speaking isn’t an ancient recipe (we were slow adopters of the celeriac in this country) I have taken inspiration from a 14th century recipe for Pasternak Fritters (parsnips) found in the Forme of Cury.
Makes 12 (serves 4 as a light lunch or 6 as a starter)
- 450g celeriac, peeled
- 50g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 medium eggs
- Small bunch of chives, finely snipped
- 100g blue cheese e.g. Brighton Blue, grated or crumbled
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- Salt, pepper and nutmeg for seasoning
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Coarsely grate the celeriac then throw into the water blanch for 1 minute only. Drain and refresh with cold water to prevent it cooking further then dry on a tea towel, squeezing out as much moisture as possible. This removes the excess liquid and will improve the texture of the final fritters.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Break in the eggs then, using a fork, gradually combine to form a thick batter. Then add the celeriac. Compared to the amount of celeriac you have prepared it won’t seem like a lot but this batter is more of a binding agent rather than something to coat the vegetables.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients except the oil. Coat the bottom of a large non stick frying pan with oil and place over a medium-high heat for a minute or two. Place generously heaped tablespoons of the celeriac mixture in the pan and flatten slightly. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side then keep the fritters warm (in a low oven) whilst you cook the remaining fritters, adding more oil if necessary.
Mead Infused Pears
This is like a ‘fresh’ chutney that can be eaten immediately. Mead can be dry or sweet so add honey according to taste. If you can’t get hold of mead this recipe works well with port too.
- 30g butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 30ml (2 tbsp) mead
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 2 not too ripe pears, peeled cored and chopped
- honey to taste
- salt & pepper to season
- Melt the butter in a frying pan then fry the shallots over a low heat until golden. Mix together the mead and vinegar with a little honey if the mead is very dry.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high then add the mead, vinegar and seasoning. Allow to bubble away until the liquid has mostly evaporated and is syrupy. Add the chopped pear to the pan then cook for a minute or two. The pears should still have some bite to them and should not be mushy. Serve warm or cold with the fritters above.